The Flash Season 1 Eps 17-18 (TV Show Review)
Two episodes back The Flash finally addressed the question of whether Barry would get to time travel or not when he accidentally went back in time for about a day, and then ended up repeating that day (to a degree). The writers also did well in addressing the notion of what happens when you time travel, how you do it, and what the consequences can be. Of course, the time travel was important in more ways than one since in the “repeat” events unfolded in a manner conducive to Dr. Wells not killing Cisco, so that was a thumbs-up in my eyes. Some of the other things though, well, they really didn’t sit well with me.
And the two most recent episodes, “Tricksters” and “All Star Team Up” haven’t really done much to address those issues. If anything, things have kind of gotten worse, at least as far as Iris and her relationship with everyone is concerned. In last week’s episode we saw the amazing Mark Hamill return to the franchise as the Trickster, though now aged and past his prime when the CCPD gets him to consult on a case that ties into his legacy. Suffice to say, it was an explosive episode in the way that only an episode with the Trickster can be. And in this week’s episode, we saw yet another crossover with Arrow when Ray Palmer and Felicity arrive in Central City to consult with the STAR Labs team on Ray’s suit, and all sorts of hilarious shenanigans follow, including one of the most… well, weird villains the show has had to date.
Right from the start, The Flash is a show that has taken its superhero legacy in stride, irrespective of what medium the production team draws its inspiration from. Whether you talk about John Wesley Shipp, the original Flash from the 90s The Flash, or drawing on what worked and didn’t work on CW’s Arrow, this has always been central to the show. And last week, things went a bit further when Mark Hamill, the original Trickster from the 90s show returned to the franchise to portray an older version of the same. And in doing so, the show became very much about the legacies of the characters involved. Of course, the writers threw in scenes with Mark Hamill and John Wesley Shipp both, and those proved to be awesome, but the show also went beyond that in the final minutes of the episode when we had a startling revelation about the old Trickster.
The whole plot involving James Jesse (Hamill’s character) and Axel Walker (the new Trickster) was really good, I felt, and I also appreciated that when it came to making his character unique and nutty and psychopathic, Hamill forwent his trademark Joker voice and came up with something more…. original. You can still feel the same kind of nuttiness in the characters, but they are also different. And Devon Graye was almost a match for Hamill. The camaraderie between the two of them was excellent, and I really wouldn’t mind seeing the two of them again in some way.
Plus, it is so much fun to see villains who can continue to challenge Barry in new and interesting ways, preventing the show from devolving into a case of Barry just speeding out of whatever the villain can come up with. He succeeds because he has a strong team backing him and because he is also quite self-reliant, when it comes down to it.
This then leads me into this week’s episode where that self-reliance and the need to rely on his support team took centerstage. We know well and good now that Harrison Wells is the Reverse-Flash aka Eobard Thawne, a distant descendent of Eddie Thawne. We know the guy is a killer. But what we didn’t know, not really, was that originally Harrison Wells and Eobard Thawne were quite…. dissimilar people. Last week’s episode has some super-great moments that delve into how and why this is, and it is a twist worth experiencing on your own.
As I said above, this week’s episode saw Ray and Felicity take a slight jaunt on down to Central City since they are having some problems with some of the mechanics of Ray’s ATOM suit, and they want the STAR Labs team, namely Cisco, to take a look at it and make whatever improvements and modifications are necessary. And hilarity ensues because the writing team of Grainne Godfree and Kai Yu Wu doubles down on the bad puns and cheesy one-liners, especially when it comes to this week’s villain, the Bug-Eyed Bandit (or even Queen Bee, if you prefer so).
The thing here is that we are in some pretty serious stuff right now. Barry is fighting the inner urge to strike out at Dr. Wells and to make him answer for all the hurt he has caused him over the years, for the murder of his mother and the incarceration of his father most especially. But also for betraying him as he has done, pretending to be the benevolent mentor while being the villain of the story. And we know that this is really messing with his head too, since he even starts to question whether Caitlin and Cisco are really on his side or not. Very, very heavy stuff.
So some light hilarity is doubly welcome. And the pair of Felicity and Ray are really cute and adorable in their social awkwardness. Which complements the cast of The Flash quite nicely since they too have their own awkward moments like this.
is all the calm before the storm. Leonard Snart and Mick Rory are going to return in a few weeks, while the promised live-action debut of Gorilla Grodd is just around the corner. And we also have to see the big epic confrontation between Barry and Dr. Wells too, when all the secrets come out into the open and the lives of everyone are changed forever. I fee that this episode was just the writers letting the viewers have some fun, right before we return to all the super-serious stuff and the show kicks into the final batch of episodes for the first season.
In the midst of all this though, while there was a lot about this episode that I really liked, I really disliked what Iris is being turned into. This week she gives Eddie an ultimatum that unless he tells her what is going on with him, she is going to break up with him. Of course, the tension between them has to do with the fact that Eddie is now in on Barry’s secret and that Joe has asked him to keep it from Iris for her own safety (and why exactly is that a concern right now I have no idea). Iris’s trajectory has started to go downhill for a while now and I think the writers really need to lift her back up and start engaging with her potential as a character, or she is going to wallow in the trenches for far too long.
Other than that though, good run for straight two weeks here. The writers are (generally) ramping everything up, and the ride is super-fun and I can’t wait to see next week’s episode, when more is revealed about the relationship between Eobard Thawne and Harrison Wells, not to mention the fact that we are going to learn more about Cisco’s flashbacks to the altered timeline where he died. That ain’t gonna be fun!
Posted on April 16, 2015, in Review Central, The Flash, TV Show Reviews and tagged Action, Andrew Kreisberg, Arrow, Axel Walker, Barry Allen, Brandon Routh, Brie Larvan, Bug-Eyed Bandit, Caitlin Snow, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Central City, Cisco Ramon, Comics Television, Crime, CW, Danielle Panabaker, DC Comics, Detective West, Devon Graye, Drama, Eddie Thawne, Emily Bett Rickards, Eobard Thawne, Felicity Smoak, Flash, Genre Television, Geoff Johns, Grainne Godfree, Grant Gustin, Green Arrow, Greg Berlanti, Henry Allen, Iris West, Jesse L. Martin, Joe West, John Wesley Shipp, Kai Yu Wu, Kevin Tancharoen, Mar Hamill, Mystery, Nora Allen, Oliver Queen, Professor Zoom, Ralph Hemecker, Ray Palmer, Reverse-Flash, Review, Review Central, Rick Cosnett, Scarlet Speedster, Science Fiction, Superhero Fiction, Superhero Television, Superheroes, Supervillains, Television, Television Adaptation, The Flash, The Flash Season 1, The Flash Season 1 Ep 17, The Flash Season 1 Ep 18, Tina McGee, Tom Cavanagh, Tricksters, TV Show, TV Show Review, Vibe, Wally West. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.